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Stardust (2007)

tomatometer

76

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 186
Fresh: 141 | Rotten: 45

A faithful interpretation that captures the spirit of whimsy, action, and off-kilter humor of Neil Gaiman, Stardust juggles multiple genres and tones to create a fantastical experience.

70

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 13

A faithful interpretation that captures the spirit of whimsy, action, and off-kilter humor of Neil Gaiman, Stardust juggles multiple genres and tones to create a fantastical experience.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 465,629

My Rating

Movie Info

The sleepy English village of Wall is so named for the cobblestone wall that has, for eons, kept the villagers safely apart form the supernatural parallel universe that lies just on the other side. It is here that young Tristan Thorne makes a wild-eyed promise to the prettiest girl in the village, whose heart he hopes to win: that he will bring her back a fallen star. Now, in order to make good on his promise, Tristan will have to cross the forbidden wall, and enter a mysterious kingdom lit by

Dec 18, 2007

$38.2M

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All Critics (194) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (141) | Rotten (45) | DVD (34)

Like the star that falls to Earth near the beginning of the movie, Stardust is glittery and pretty and possesses its own pleasing-enough personality, but it won't set the world on fire.

December 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You could call it a cousin of 'Time Bandits' or 'The Princess Bride', but it lacks the former's originality and the latter's heart.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everybody has a lot of fun here.

August 14, 2007
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's puffed up in obvious ways but disarmingly puckish in others.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stern editor with a sense of dramatic timing could have given this film more tension to go with its random bursts of comedy and big, happy fantasy setpieces, but lacking tautness, it'll have to settle for expansive joy.

August 10, 2007 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This luminous, magical movie will dazzle even the fantasy-film phobic.

August 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Low-budget sci-fi disaster with some swearing.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

This star is not as much of a beauty as it could have been.

February 13, 2009 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium | Comments (10)
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

The oddball elements may surprise viewers expecting something a bit more ordinary in approach, but the surprise should be a pleasant one.

July 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinefantastique
Cinefantastique

There was just enough connection between Claire Danes and Charlie Cox that happily ever after is exactly what I wanted.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

Stardust is nothing short of pure magic.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Springs Gazette

On the surface, Stardust looks like a cheesy little fluff fantasy. In many ways it is. Yet at the same time, it's also the most fun I've had with a film since watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean.

January 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Primo contemporâneo de A Princesa Prometida, o filme também traz referências óbvias a Macbeth e Rei Lear em sua agitada trama, revelando um senso de humor eficaz e com toques sombrios que o transformam em uma mais do que bem-vinda surpresa.

January 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Stardust is, ultimately, a pretty entertaining movie. It's just not the great film that it so easily could have been.

December 14, 2007 Full Review Source: DVD Review
DVD Review

...charming and enchanting and adventurous and romantic and funny and hugely entertaining.

December 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Director Matthew Vaughn, best known for his grotesque gangster slasherfest Layer Cake, has absolutely no problem balancing equal servings of breathtaking imagination and perverse glee.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze

Wants to be the next-generation Princess Bride, and, boy, does it come close.

October 30, 2007 Full Review | Comments (4)
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Should be congratulated as a film that aspires to the non-mainstream genre of fantasy fairy tale with a hint of Brothers Grimm edginess.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Dazzling fantasy rom-com has some dark moments.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Despite its faults, Stardust should at least be accounted a partial success - and certainly more than a failure.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Great family fun.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper
thelondonpaper

Brutally disappointing.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Little White Lies | Comments (3)
Little White Lies

There's a shameless romantic streak here, quite welcome in a boy-targeted genre that usually insists battles are cool and love is for wimps.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A wackily surreal, primary-coloured fairytale from a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/6155d5ea-7cc4-11dc-aee2-0000779fd2ac.html

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Audience Reviews for Stardust

Successful film franchises cast a long shadow. If you directed an adventure film or a sci-fi film in the 1970s and 1980s, you were effectively inviting comparisons with Star Wars and Indiana Jones. What is most successful on a grand scale often becomes the benchmark for other films in that genre, regardless of whether or not the benchmark is a particularly good one.

In the same way, every fantasy film produced in the 2000s is in some way putting itself in competition with Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. There have been many attempts on both sides of the Atlantic to recapture the success of these franchises, or to plug the gaps between instalments, as was the case with Percy Jackson. Stardust is one of the better offerings in this period, beginning in a decidedly ropey fashion but eventually soaring into something distinctive and heartwarming.

The first notable aspect of Stardust is the talent behind it. The film is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, one of the most admired and acclaimed fantasy writers of our time. The screenplay is co-written by Jane Goldman, who would later do a sterling job of adapting The Woman in Black for Hammer. And it is directed by Matthew Vaughn, who had changed Daniel Craig's career with Layer Cake and would later helm the cult classic Kick-Ass.

Unfortunately, and in spite of this prestige, things don't get off to a very good start. The opening act of Stardust is a very televisual affair: it feels like a posh costume drama with a marginally bigger budget, whose story unfolds at the leisurely pace of an episode of Cranford. It's very common for fantasy films to set up a sleepy home which our heroes eventually leave to go on their journey - Privet Drive, Hobbiton and so forth. But with Wall we don't get a sense of scale or of anything magical lurking just around the corner. It feels, in other words, a little too small and ordinary.

This televisual feel is exacerbated by the casting. While the film boasts a handful of established film talents, like Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Strong and Robert De Niro, most of the supporting cast are drawn from British TV comedy. Mark Heap, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Adam Buxton are all very talented comic actors, but their scenes feel more like a bizarre Channel 4 sitcom than a full-blown fantasy epic. The main cast fall victim to this too, with Charlie Cox struggling to shake off his performance in Bleak House and taking a long time to bed in as our hero.

Aside from its creaky, televisual opening, the narrative of Stardust is rather ramshackle. While The Lord of the Rings saw multiple plot strands growing out of the central journey of the fellowship, this film juggles up to four competing strands from the outset: Tristan's journey with Yvaine, the witches' hunt for the star, Tristan's mother being held prisoner by another witch, and the brothers fighting for the crown. This is probably the result of compression on the part of Goldman and Vaughn, and while all the sub-plots do eventually come together, for a lot of the running time we're confused as to whom the main focus should be.

Like many fantasy films of the period, Stardust does contain some derivative touches. Ian McKellen's narration is a clear attempt to capture the gravitas that he and Cate Blanchett lent to The Lord of the Rings, but it is largely perfuctory to the storytelling and not as well-written as the speeches in Peter Jackson's films. The central dynamic between Tristan and Yvaine is like Starman with the genders reversed, so that now it is a male protagonist helping to familiarise a female alien with how the world works. Other touches, such as the goat being turned into a man, find the film settling for fantasy convention in itself rather than trying to put its own distinctive stamp on it.

If we approach Stardust is a deadly-serious fantasy epic, it will end up falling short of our expectations. Even though it boasts the same certificate as The Lord of the Rings, it's written more consciously with a family audience in mind and thereby lacks some of Tolkien's compelling darkness. But if we view it in a broader sense, as a more modest fantasy romance with comedy elements, it gradually begins to make sense and eventually comes through with the goods.

Even with all its narrative shortcomings, the film is very funny from start to finish. After a while the gallery of British talent stops being distracting as Vaughn allows each of them to play to their strengths; even Ricky Gervais' cameo is pretty good fun. The physical humour is well-executed, the bitching between the central couple is believable, and the whole film has a playful, mischievous quality which prevents any of its mythology from sounding po-faced.

The real highlight in this regard, however, is De Niro. He's been parodying himself in various ways since the late-1990s, with his roles in Meet The Parents and Analyse This among others sending up either his meticulous preparation or the kinds of roles he has gravitated towards. Captain Shakespeare is a man who wishes to appear tough and macho for his men, but who secretly dresses in drag and is altogether rather charming. It's an endearing characterisation, and the can-can scene is one of the funniest moments.

As the humour builds and finds its feet, so too does the power of the central romance. For all its fantasy trappings, Stardust is ultimately a film about finding love in unexpected places, with both protagonists having a degree of naivety or innocence about them. Tristan is naive having never set foot outside of Wall, while Yvaine has seen mankind suffer and flourish from afar but never been close enough to completely understand them. Their relationship is the meeting of two worlds in understanding and harmony, and the final act is very heartwarming.

The screenwriters deserve credit in this regard for maintaining the agency of the female characters, something which fantasy cinema has often struggled to do. Yvaine may spend much of her time trying to escape imprisonment, but she is ultimately resourceful and independent, and ends up saving Tristan's life. Likewise, Pfeiffer's witch is cunning, ambitious and strives to get what she wants under her own steam rather than expecting others to do it for her. This makes the final confrontation between the two more potent and gives the film something of a unique identity.

Stardust is a very enjoyable family fantasy which compensates for its shaky start with a growing sense of heart and a lot of good-natured laughter. It's hardly the most ground-breaking or original work, nor is it a candidate for the best Gaiman adaptation. But it deserves a lot of praise for the elements which do come together, and which result in a film which is genuinely for everyone.
April 24, 2014
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

Magical fantasy movie with an excellent cast. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeffier play brilliant characters. Tristan wants to catch a falling star for his beloved. More mature than Hocus Pocus but along similar lines.
July 11, 2013
thmtsang
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

When fantasy is done right it can be truly amazing. Unfortunately, "Stardust" falls victim to bad visuals and a silly story. I actually didn't finish watching this because I was so incredibly bored by the uninteresting plot, subplots, and characters. So yes, the credibility of this review is lost because I didn't watch the entire film; what I did see is mostly terrible.
October 21, 2012
Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

    1. Humphrey: You just bought yourself a death wish.
    – Submitted by Lucas B (17 months ago)
    1. Narrator: They ruled for 80 years. But no man can live forever, except he who possesses the heart of a star, and Yvaine had given hers to Tristan completely. When their children and grandchildren were grown, it was time to light the Babylon Candle. And they still live happily ever after.
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (21 months ago)
    1. Yvaine: You've got a Babylon candle.
    2. Tristan: Yeah, I have a bubbling candle.
    3. Yvaine: A *Babylon* candle.
    4. Tristan: That's what I said.
    5. Yvaine: You said 'bubbling'.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)
    1. Tristan: Did you really mean what you said in the caravan?
    2. Yvaine: What I...? But... You were a mouse! You were a mouse... you wanted cheese! You didn't... I asked you to give me a sign!
    3. Tristan: And risk you being too embarrassed to keep saying such lovely things?
    – Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)
    1. Narrator: A philosopher once asked, 'Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?' Pointless, really... 'Do the stars gaze back?' Now *that's* a question.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)
    1. Yvaine: You know when I said I knew little about love? Well that wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it. I've seen centuries and centuries of it. And it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain and lies. Hate. Made me want to turn away and never look down again. But to see the way that mankind loves. I mean, you can search the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So, yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can also be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and, well, strangely easy to mistaken for loathing. And, what I'm trying to say, Tristan, is I think I love you! My heart, it feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it doesn't belong to me anymore. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I's wish for nothing in exchange. No gifts, no goods, no demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing that you love me, too. Just your heart in exchange for mine.
    – Submitted by Nhia T (2 years ago)
View all quotes (18)

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